CASI Student Programs Blog

Since 2007, the Center for the Advanced Study of India (CASI) at the University of Pennsylvania has supported nearly 200 students! Welcome to the home base for CASI students and alumni to share their thoughts, reflections, and ongoing learnings about their internships, research projects, and travels in India and beyond.

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Urban informality is very personal to me; I grew up Bombay, where the informal is normal, and worked in Delhi, where informality was not exclusively a low-income activity. As a researcher, however, I began to encounter atypical informal settlements (read: not slums), which did not easily respond to existing solutions for formalisation of such activities and […]

I was fortunate to spend time in the beautiful city of Udaipur. A lot of people associate Udaipur with its historic palaces and lakes. Not many people know that it is also home to a vibrant intellectual community working closely with nearby villages.  This community is not just well connected but also very welcoming of […]

To get to the Bangladeshi Sundarbans, I usually drive from my grandfather’s home in Calcutta to the Vomra Border. Inevitably, I get stuck at the border as foreign passport-holders travel over land so rarely. This year the head officer on the Bangladeshi side bought me a coconut full of water. He remembered me from my […]

Hi everyone! My name is Rithika Kumar and I am a third-year PhD student in the Department of Political Science at Penn. During my time at Penn, I have taken a range of courses that have informed my research but over time have come to realize that no learning ever compares to that of being […]

Its been about a week since I got back to Philadelphia. Everything still feels surreal. All my senses have finally calmed down after being on high alert for so long. It’s relieving. I walk around the streets and people don’t directly stare at me or sneak in a picture just because I look foreign. There […]

When I was considering coming to India, I was weighing a bunch of different factors.  I was nervous about spending two months so far away from everyone I love with three people I had never met before.  I knew I would be studying abroad this fall and that I probably would not have time to […]

My Project I just finished spending my summer at Aravind-Madurai, where I was working on improving the recruitment and management processes of the volunteer/internship program.  When I arrived, I learned that Dhivya and Srilakshmi took on a lot of the responsibilities related to the interns.  There were few formal systems and resources in place to […]

It’s now been 2 weeks since I’ve left Delhi, and I’ve pushed this blog post off for far too long because, honestly, I don’t know how to summarize my 9 weeks in India properly. My trip was a lot of different things. It was inspiring. I worked for a company full of hard-working, passionate people, […]

At the start of every August my family spends two-weeks vacationing in the Adirondacks. Always. No matter if every one of my siblings is at school or working, we always make time for our annual summer trip “up the mountains”. That is why, even though I just spent two months in India, I agreed to […]

I’ve been back on Penn Campus for two days now and I have completely lost count of how many times I’ve been asked this question and how many times I struggled to find words to describe my summer. Do I start from the incredible systems Aravind has in place, the amount of information I learned […]